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Whiskey Row: the Development of Coalinga's Front Street, the liveliest place on the West Side

Whiskey Row: the Development of Coalinga
Whiskey Row: the Development of Coalinga Whiskey Row: the Development of Coalinga Whiskey Row: the Development of Coalinga
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by: David Paul Davenport
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Publication Date: February 9, 2020
Book Size: 8.5" x 11"
Pages: 306
Binding: Perfect Bound
Color: Black and White
ISBN: 9781645507758

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Book Synopsis
Coalinga, California, began in 1889 as a supply center for a coal mine and became a boom town when oil was discovered nearby in 1896. Seemingly overnight the oil district attracted wildcatters who explored and proved the field making it by 1910 the largest producing oil field in California. As the supply center for this district Coalinga's population soared from a couple of hundred in 1900 to over 6,000 in 1910 making it the second largest city in Fresno County. | One consequence of this explosive growth was the desire of some residents to separate those who worked in the oil fields from their hard-earned money, so Coalinga attracted liquor dealers, gamblers, and fallen women. Those who did not partake of these vices sought to make the town more respectable by incorporating in 1906, supporting anti-gambling candidates, limiting the number of liquor licenses, and confining the saloons to a single block along Front Street called Whiskey Row. Despite a half dozen major fires valiantly battled in a community with inadequate water supplies the liquor interests always seemed to rebuild. Law enforcement had its hands full enforcing ordinances that curtailed hours and trying to protect the customers of these establishments from themselves and from their exploiters. As the temperance movement gained traction in the late 1910's and Prohibition became a reality in 1920 the liquor trade went underground and bootlegging became common. To combat this Coalinga's leaders hired undercover agents to gather evidence. Judges imposed stiff fines and jail time on the miscreants. Ultimately good order prevailed and the notorious Whiskey Row was tamed. A fire in 1930 reduced to ashes almost every building on the Row and the Great Depression prevented any part of it from being rebuilt. | Whiskey Row is today a memory of Coalinga's frontier history. This book provides biographies of Whiskey Row's businessmen, and recalls the nefarious activities associated with these saloons.
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About The Author
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Ruth was born on a farm in southern Iowa in 1927. After WW II she met Charles Davenport of Oskaloosa who had just returned from Japan where he served in the US Army of Occupation. As husband and wife they moved to California where Charles attended Berkeley Baptist Divinity School. David was born in 1951 and a second son, Kendell, came into the world in 1958 while they lived in San Francisco. In 1963 Charles was called to the pulpit at Coalinga. Ruth attended classes at the local junior college and completed her bachelor's degree at Fresno State College where she was Valedictorian in 1966. David also graduated from Fresno State and then accepted a fellowship offered by the University of Illinois, Urbana, where he received his PhD in 1983. He eventually made his way back to California in 1990 where he taught geography at Fresno State from 1993 to 2002 and History at Fresno City College from 1990 to 2003. He then left teaching to concentrate on educational consulting while researching and writing history and genealogy. Ruth continues to live in Coalinga where Kendell has resided since graduating with a degree in engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and David lives in Fresno.